Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A More Upbeat View of Self-Publishing

A few weeks ago I published a blog whose statistics presented -- I must admit -- a discouraging view of publishing for new authors. Honestly, I don’t have actual experience in getting my novels out there so I asked my friend Edie Ramer, who is successfully self-published to look at that blog and give her perspective.
Edie, as her many fans know, lives in southeastern Wisconsin with her husband, two dogs and an exceptional cat. She's the author of such books as Dragon Blues, Dead People, Cattitude and The Seventh Dimension. Her Website motto: "If you believe, magic will happen."
One reviewer said of her work: "Edie is brilliant. I love her snarky characters, the humor, the sex, the incredible story and the perfect narration she is able to spin into a single novel. I was on the edge of my seat."
So, I'm feeling I've made an excellent choice for today's rebuttal.
Take it away, Edie:

Header courtesy of samulli




":A big thank you to Brenda for inviting me to reply to her Thursday 13 post from last week. I should have warned her that I might go off track. I usually do. And that’s the…
1. "…reason why self-publishing is perfect for me. If you write books that don’t quite fit in with the books that are New York published, then you might be an 'indie' author. Both best-selling e-book authors Amanda Hocking and H.P. Mallory couldn’t sell their books before they became 'indie' writers.
2. "Brenda quoted a statistic that said 80% of Americans haven’t purchased a book in the last year. I don’t focus on the ones who don’t, just the ones who do. Many readers purchase enough books to make up for the non-readers (including me!) Which brings me to…
3. "…the readers. Readers matter to me, not numbers. If you read paranormal romances with a mix of dark, light, sad, funny, and in-between, then you’re my kind of reader. All the better if you like cats, dragons or ghosts.
4. "If 120,000 books are published a year (from Brenda’s post), probably more than 50% are nonfiction, and many others aren’t paranormal romances, which I write. That figure doesn’t scare me.
5. "So what if your book is paranormal romance? In that case, I hope you sell a zillion of your books. Remember when the agents and editors were saying that vampire books were overcrowded? Then Twilight came along, and the gates opened wide again. So bring on the great dragon, ghosts, and cat-turned-into-women books. I want your books to be a huge success. I’m not proud. I’ll take your run-offs.
6. "Brenda said, 'A fiction book is considered successful if it sells 5,000 copies.' I believe this figure is meant for Print Books. The reason many traditional books don’t sell more than 5,000 is because that’s the Print Run. And after one or two months, they’re pulled off the shelves, making room for the next book.




7. "Self-published books are only pulled if the author un-publishes them. As I write this, I’ve sold 800 copies of 'Dead People' this month. By the end of the month, I’ll have sold 1,000. I believe (hope!) that in a few months I’ll have sold more than 5,000 copies -- a number that should continue to grow. At Amazon, it’s in the Top 10 best-selling books for the Ghosts and Gothic categories. If I’d taken it down after a short time period, it would have been considered a Failure instead of a Success.
8. "According to Brenda, Jane Smith said the average self-published book sells between 40- 200 copies. I’d like to know where Jane got her figures and if she’s talking about e-books or POD (print-on-demand) books. In any case, I don’t like comparing my sales to other writers’ sales. Because…
9. "…it doesn’t matter what someone else does. It matters what YOU do. Because YOU are a brilliant writer and will sell more than 40 to 200 copies of your e-book.
10. "From Brenda: 'Of the books that are purchased, apparently only 57% are read cover-to- cover.' Guilty and not ashamed. I don’t have time to read books I don’t like or the writing is bad. There are too many other good books to read.
11. "From Brenda: 'A Point of Hope in getting more Americans involved in reading might be the increase in e-book sales.' Yes! By the end of the year, I believe I’ll be earning a living wage.
12. "In the comments of Brenda’s post, someone said that a lot of self-published books aren’t good. I agree. But I feel that way about a lot of New York published books, too. In #10 about books not read cover-to-cover, I’m guessing the statistic applies to print books as well as self-published books. And e-books are much easier to return (with Kindle, at least). Another advantage of e-books is that you can usually download a free sample to see if you’ll like it. My books have the first 20% in the samples.
13." If you’re thinking of self-publishing, what matters isn’t numbers that are probably different by the time you read them. What matters is that you believe in yourself and the books you write. My only expense is my covers, so I don’t have a lot to lose. (Many other writers do their own covers, but I don’t have those skills. My cover artist, Laura Morrigan, is fast, inexpensive and fabulous.) I love what I do, and becoming an 'indie' writer is one of the best things I’ve done for myself.
'If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments."
--Edie Ramer
http://edieramer.com/

48 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more. Congrats on your success, may it only grow by leaps and bounds.
    I'm new to self-publishing, but I am loving the control I have over my books, and not having to play the waiting game for answers, release dates, etc etc. If I want to put my book on sale I do. It's that simple. Thanks for such a positive spin on self-publishing.

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  2. Thank you for another insightful post, Brenda and Edie. Always good to get different perspectives on all aspects of the publishing industry.

    (And aren't those of us in Southern Wisconsin glad we're not up north right now? *Shudders at the thought of more snow*)

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  3. It's certainly an exciting time for publishing. I'm watching with great interest.

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  4. I'm 100% with you, Edie. I'm in the middle of taking the plunge myself. It's scary at times, but as Adelle said, at least *I* control the situation. Nobody can tell me what to do, and I'm not at someone else's mercy, waiting for a call that's not going to come. My stories stradle lines and genres. NY is never going to take a chance on me, so I'm taking a chance on myself.

    Thanks for a great post, Edie and Brenda! Nice way to start my day. :-)

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  5. Adelle Laudan,
    Thanks. May you also experience many sales.

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  6. Heather,
    You're most welcome.

    Yeah, I was surprised to see the white stuff covering my patio this morning. I'm grateful it's merely a dusting.

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  7. Shelley Munro,
    Grin. You and me both! Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. KendallGrey,
    I, for one, am excited about your books coming out. Good wishes.

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  9. I enjoyed reading this and I really like the attitude conveyed here. Positive is good!

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  10. Ive book marked this post. I am still in the process of getting my book from idea to paper, but your post has taught me much of what I dont know right now. Happy T13!

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  11. Brenda, thanks again for inviting me. And for your formatting!

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  12. Adelle, self-publishing is empowering. I love that! I wish you leaps and bounds of success, too.

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  13. Heather, I am very glad I'm not up north. As it is, I woke to light snow on the sidewalk. My 18-year-old beagle doesn't like that on her arthritic feet.

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  14. Shelley, it's very exciting. Fun and scary, and I love being a part of it.

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  15. My stories stradle lines and genres. NY is never going to take a chance on me

    Kendall, that's how I felt. I'm so glad I took the plunge. I hope you sell many books.

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  16. Country, Dean Wesley Smith has a great blog up today that talks about self-publishing and traditional publishing. I think every writer should read it.

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  17. Mercy, I'm glad anything I said helped you. Have fun writing!

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  18. I always wondered about self-publishing.

    Have a great Thursday!
    http://harrietandfriends.com/2011/03/spam-and-deal-breakers/

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  19. CountryDew,
    Thanks. I'm for positive posts too.

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  20. Mercy,
    Edie's the expert and I'm a learner like you, but we're glad to help.

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  21. Edie Ramer,
    You're an awesome guest. It's always great to have you. Thanks.

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  22. I am Harriet,
    I'm not surprised you thought of self publishing. Your blog is always interesting. You've lots to say. Happy TT!

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  23. I want to read more about "indie" writers. Thanks for this post, Brenda and thanks to your friend Edie. It's fun to learn new things again today.

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  24. Harriet, if you want to know more about self-publishing, you should check out J.A. Konrath's posts. It's because of his blog that I decided to take the leap. I'm so glad I did.

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  25. Hazel,
    Thanks. I look forward to your visits.

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  26. 9. -- So if I do NOT sell more than 40-200 copies of a self-pubbed work, does that mean the book stinks? :)

    Jody W.

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  27. Oh Jody,
    Not a valid question. You couldn't write a book that stinks. :0) No worries.

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  28. Don't make me prove that I can, missy! Although I already can if degree of stench is sales-based.

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  29. Jody, love Brenda's answer and agree. With your high quality of writing, if you don't sell more, it means you put it up and didn't do anything else.

    I don't promo nearly as much as I should, but I have contacted some book bloggers who've reviewed my books. And I got my big boost in sales earlier this month because Dead People was featured at DailyCheapReads.

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  30. So basically what you're saying is, any lack of success is my own fault one way (cruddy book) or the other (cruddy promo). AWESOME! *chortle* Ok, I'll shut up now. The article is very good! I'm just badly behaved.

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  31. This was very interesting!! Thanks for posting!! :) I've always tried to write a book, I just get stuck halfway through! :)

    Have a great day!

    :)
    Rachel

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  32. Jody, it's not your writing. And I'll leave it at that. lol

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  33. Rachel, you're learning as you write, and that's something. I've started a few that once I got into it, I could tell they weren't for me. If this is what you want to do, you'll find the book that's right for you.

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  34. Jody,
    I'm with Edie on this one. :) You have my best wishes for success.

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  35. Rachel,
    Yep, middles are hard, but it's cool you're writing. We wish you the best. Please keep us posted.

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  36. I love to read, and I always wanted to write, but I just can't seem to overcome my fears of rejection.

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  37. Forgetfulone, that's a biggie. I don't know any writer who hasn't had a rejection - or many rejections. Maybe you'd be the exception.

    I suppose there are people who jump into self-publishing without trying to sell their books to an agent or editor. In a weird way, I think rejection is good, because it keeps you striving to write better.

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  38. Great to see a positive blog on self-publishing from someone actually doing it. I love my publishers, but I've considered it on a particular book that I don't think I can get past editors when it's done. I just don't know. I'd have to pay for editing or pull some serious favors. With my LDs, I don't trust that I could make it error free/plot hole free on my own. But who knows what the future brings.

    I wish you a great deal of success and please continue speaking on the subject. JAK is great, but I think it's important that someone without the built in audience he had talk about their own success for those considering it.

    Happy TT,

    ~Xakara

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  39. Forgetfulone,
    Yeah, I'm with you. I don't think anyone likes being rejected, but you can't have acceptance without its opposite. I’m hopeful. :)

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  40. Xakara,
    Thanks. I appreciate your thoughts and insights.

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  41. Xakara, Konrath has featured indie writers on his blog who are bestsellers, and they've never been published before this. Look at Amanda Hocking, Karen McQuestion, and H.P. Mallory.

    Erotica does very well, so you should consider it. You can find a good freelance editor that isn't too expensive. Just go on the Kindle boards and ask.

    Whatever you decide to do, good luck!

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  42. The last post from Brenda & this one from Edie have given me much to think about. Thank you!

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  43. Ella, I'm glad I helped you think.

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  44. Ella,
    Thanks. I'm learning publishing is complex. :)

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